Innovation often stems from grabbing elements from different arenas and melding them together in a new way.
Emory University medical physicist Tim Fox has done so, helping found an eight-year-old software company Velocity Medical Solutions that melds computer science, physics and medicine. The company, of which remains a scientific advisor, sells software that creates high-quality, 3-D-like images which provide a more accurate look at a tumor’s actual boundaries and help oncologists make better individual treatment decisions.
Fox is one of a dozen speakers at the highly anticipated TEDxPeachtree 2012 conference at the Buckhead Theatre November 2. Buy your tickets here!
Fox answers some of our questions:
Why did you decide to do a TED Talk?
I have always enjoyed TED talks and find them both educational and inspirational… I think TED is a great forum for telling stories about life, science, and technology.
How familiar are you with TED?
I am familiar from watching many talks on my iPhone, iPad and computer. However, I have never attended a live TED event.
Any TED Talks in particular stand out for you and if so, why?
I like the science and technology talks on life sciences and computer technology. I find them interesting to watch. I prefer this a source of both cutting news and educational. However, I also like J.J. Abrams talk on the Mystery Box. I liked his TV show “Lost” and I found his talk to provide great insight on how he creates shows. However, he also indicated how special his grandfather was to him growing up.
How did you get into your line of work?
I did an internship at Oak Ridge National Lab between my junior and senior year of undergraduate university studies. I learned about medical physics from PhD nuclear physicists, and I decided to apply for the Georgia
Tech Medical Physics program. I enjoyed combining physics, computers, and medicine into one area of study. As I developed research ideas, I focused on the use of software applications to improve patient care
and departmental efficiency.
What are your passions, either at work or outside of work?
At work, I enjoy working in a collaborative team environment of radiation oncology. Physicians, physicists, therapists, and other clinical staff work closely to create and deliver personalized radiation treatment plans to cancer patients. Outside of work, I enjoy sports and recreational activities. I played baseball from 8
years old through college, and I enjoyed competing at the highest levels. I learned later in life that it was more about the competition than just the winning and losing. I still like to compete against myself in running, cycling, and triathlons. I also coach my son’s little league baseball team.
Our theme is “transcend” – rising above ordinary limitations. How do you feel you fit that – as in, do you feel you have limitations that you’ve been able to transcend in your life?
I always made good grades in school, but I had to work at it. I think of myself as a “grinder” with a determination to focus on the subject matter. I starting programming computers at 15 years old in high school, and I did this so I could play baseball at that high school. However, I liked being able to instruct a machine to perform a task for me, and I decided to focus on it and write as much software as I could. I have tried to transcend by maximizing my mental and physical abilities to focus on specific problems and solve these problems with good design and work ethic.
Quick background of where you were born, what schools you
went to, when you moved to Atlanta and why.
I was born in Tennessee, and lived in Nashville most of my life. I played a lot of baseball growing up, and I went to undergrad to play baseball on a scholarship. I was good at academics, but I always wanted to be a ballplayer. I went to Austin Peay State University, and I received the OVC Scholar Athlete award my senior year. After my baseball career ended, I went to graduate school at Georgia Tech, and that is how I got to Atlanta. I did my research with Emory University’s Dept of Radiation Oncology while getting my PhD at GT. I then joined the faculty in 1994 at Emory, and I have been here since then. I am married with a 9 yr old son and 12 yr old daughter.
Paige Pelot is a freelance public relations consultant, and is currently working on imba!: The Story of the African Children’s Choir.